Occupy Harlem! No One Has Suffered More Than Us From Plutocracy

"There's a desperate need to focus on Wall Street's total economic strangulation of our communities."

In 1847, in the first issue of the North Star, Frederick Douglass explained his decision to publish his own newspaper, rather than rely solely on The Liberator and other publications of the white-led abolitionist movement. Douglass, who was then only 29 years old, wrote: "The man who has suffered the wrong is the man to demand the redress — the man struck is the man to CRY OUT…!"

These words can inform and guide us, today, as African Americans consider their relationship to the Occupy Wall Street movement, a mostly white-initiated grassroots upswelling that has captured the national imagination like no political phenomenon in more than 40 years.

Frederick Douglass did not launch his newspaper in order to split from white abolitionists, but to speak to and for slaves and free blacks, to engage them directly in the great movement of the time: abolition. He remained an indispensable figure in the larger abolitionist structure, and was a staunch comrade to those whites that proved themselves capable of dealing with black people, not simply on the basis of equality, but as the primary actors in the struggle for their own freedom. In time, it was Douglass's words, his principled militancy, that animated the abolition movement and post-Civil War Radical Reconstruction.

In the same way, today's black activists have a duty to engage the Occupation phenomenon as full actors, as the voices of the men, women and children that have suffered the most wrongs at the hands of Wall Street and the oppressive forces that protect it, and who are the most in need of redress. It is our duty to be the ones to CRY OUT — as we always have, but this time in the midst of what we hope may be a national awakening. If it is an awakening, then our voices need to be in the ears of all those who are waking up, Blacks, whites, Latinos, everyone.

"Rangel and too many other black officials are beholden to the very plutocrats that rule New York City and its political life."

It's time to Occupy Harlem. Harlem Fightback Against War at Home and Abroad, along with the Peoples Organization for Progress and others, will kick off the occupation process this Friday evening, October 28, with a mass meeting at St. Philips Church, on 134th Street, in Harlem. (See flyer, below.) Organizer Nellie Bailey says "there's a desperate need to focus on Wall Street's total economic strangulation of our communities."

That also requires confronting the "supine leadership of black communities, not only in Harlem, but nationwide — what we at Black Agenda Report call the "black misleadership class." In Harlem, that means Congressman Charles Rangel who, as Ms. Bailey puts it, "has been in office for well over 40 years, and has received more money from the real estate industry than any other person in Congress." Rangel and too many other black officials are beholden to the very plutocrats that rule New York City and its political life.

And so it goes in black communities throughout the country. That's why the People's Organization for Progress has been demonstrating every day for more than 120 days — and will continue their daily protest in Newark, New Jersey for 381 days. And that's why the Black Is Back Coalition was formed in September of 2009, and holds its national conference in Philadelphia on November 5. (See flyer, below.)

These organizations bring our people's voices to the Occupation movement, and will continue whether that movement does, or not. Because, as Frederick Douglass said, "if there is no struggle, there is no progress." For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contact at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.


Below is a statement from the organizers of the Occupy Harlem Mobilization.


We stand in solidarity with Occupiers of Wall Street

Friday, October 28, 2011

6:30-9:30 PM

St. Philip's Church

204 West 134th Street

(Adam Clayton Powell Blvd)

A call to Blacks, Latinos, and immigrants to occupy their communities against predatory investors, displacement, privatization and state repression. Let us assert our Dignity! WE MUST DEFEND OUR COMMUNITIES! THIS IS OUR STRUGGLE, THIS IS OUR MOMENT IN HISTORY. THIS IS PEOPLE'S POWER!

We stand in solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters occupying cities, towns and neighborhoods in the United States. We stand in solidarity with poor and working class people across the globe rising up against criminal predatory finance capital that has no regard for humanity, that has no regard for Mother Earth.

Wall Street, the epicenter of international finance capital, began its financial prosperity with slave profiteering firms, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, Wachovia Bank and Bank of America. In fact, Wall Street and most of the city's financial district were built on the burial ground of captured Africans forced into genocidal free labor for centuries, a crime against humanity. The legacy of that crime against humanity manifested today in Jim Crow mass incarceration, a crisis of massive Black unemployment and the greatest loss of wealth for people of color from subprime lending frauds estimated between $164 billion and $213 billion.

Finance capital plutocrats have always controlled the US political system. They threaten

and received a $16 trillion bank bailout, the greatest thief of taxpayers' money in modern US history. And it's only the tip of the iceberg because the banks have an estimated $700 trillion of worthless derivatives, the BULL in the china shop that might very well bring down Wall Street.

Let us, the 99 percent, build a united people's movement of the poor, the working class and the middle class to reign in the one percent. ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE!

Join us for this Occupy Harlem mobilization with guest speakers and the occupy site to be announced.


Harlem Fightback Against War at Home & Abroad, People Organization for Progress, Harlem Fightback (list in formation)

Endorsements: (List in formation)

Telephone: 646-812-5188

Email:harlemfightbackagainstwar@gmail.com Website: http://harlemfightback.wordpress.com/

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